Many website owners complain that despite generating traffic, they can’t keep their visitors long enough on their sites to generate any income or build a relationship with them. Others keep their visitors long enough, make them interested in the content and still cannot earn any decent money. Many times, the problem lies in the website’s layout and design, which lacks features enabling your visitors to feel safe and in control. With hundreds of sites to choose from, it’s really easy for people just to navigate to a second site if they don’t like yours. That’s why you should do your best to make them stay on your site after that first impression. Below you’ll find a few things that every website owner should take care of when it comes to preparing a site for traffic.
1. Create a plan and understand your goal and your visitor
Treat your website as a business from the very beginning. Create a plan with clear goals on what you want to achieve. Create everything with your audience in mind – it’s your visitors that buy your products and click your affiliate links, don’t forget that. Set yourself milestones – some easy, to keep you going, other much harder to make you motivated. Stick to the plan but stay flexible – adjust your blueprint as you go, including everything that you learn.
2. Make the website layout responsive and clear and let your visitors navigate easily
You have very little time to show that your site is genuine and that what you are presenting is actually worth reading. Even the best content will generate a huge bounce rate if served on an ugly or cluttered website. Make sure that your site is easy to navigate and don’t put too many ads on it – everyone wants to earn money but cluttering your site with banners will only make your visitors blind to them and more eager to leave immediately after entering your site. Avoid distractions such as music, auto-playing videos or too many colors. Start building a professional image from the very first second. There’s no point in mentioning responsiveness because you already are responsive, right?
3. Make sure your visitors can buy whatever you are offering
The Internet is a business. Most people create their websites in order to earn money so sooner or later they will offer their own products or generate income through affiliate sales. Make sure that you have clear call to actions, encouraging people to buy. Make them click the links that you want. Sometimes a good anchor text can double or triple your sales. Other time it’s the whole article that has to presale them on a product, but even then you should have a good call to action here and there, to make sure they are actually clicking your offer and pulling out their credit cards for you.
4. Don’t let them run away – collect their emails and build a relationship
So you’ve been working hard to generate visitors? That’s great, but only a small percentage of them will ever come back. Most of them will never visit your website again, even if your content is top-notch; they will simply forget about you. Make sure that you have the option to remind them about your site – collect their emails, ask them to like your Facebook page or to follow you on Twitter. Remember that while social media marketing is great, nothing can top email – you don’t own the likes on your fan page, but you have full control over the emails that you collect.
5. Where are they coming from? Focus your efforts on your best visitors
With a good website analytics, it’s easy to find out where your visitors are coming from. Make sure that you measure the results of your marketing efforts; this way you know where to invest more time and resources. Some website analytics even allow you to generate heatmaps and watch recordings of your visitors on your site – that way you can optimize not only your marketing campaign but your website as a whole. While the top analytics can be quite expensive, all of the mentioned functions can be found in free options, such as Yandex Metrica.
6. Let your readers contact you
Do you ever contact website owners of the sites that you visit? Unless you have a business to do with them, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever do that. But that’s exactly why you should make sure that it’s easy to contact you – so that others can send you business proposals. The best way is to create a contact form on your site as it keeps your email address private and protects you from being spammed. While many people will still use the contact form to spam you, if your website becomes big enough you may start receiving paid guest post offers and joint venture offers. Some may even be interested in buying your site.
7. Interact with your readers – give them some control over what is created on the site and listen to their ideas and utilize them
Do you know how to generate the best ideas? Ask others for them. No business can be successful when you are working alone. The same applies to websites – you should ask your readers what it is that they want to read about. What’s annoying them on the site? Let them ask questions on the topic of your site and give them real answers, listen to what they are looking for – this may give you some good ideas and put your site on the path to success and flood of new visitors. Don’t hesitate to ask your readers to share your site with others – it can be in a form of incentive, where you give them something back, or you can just casually mention that in some of your posts or emails. Just don’t overdo it.
8. Build social proof
Let your visitors see your professionalism. Show your knowledge and experience. Become a guest blogger and link to those posts from within your site so that your readers can see your work. Write everything about yourself that can prove your professionalism. Start networking with others to build your social proof – even if you don’t get any instant profits from such move, your image will benefit greatly.
9. Give more than your visitors expect
Surprise your readers on your site by always giving them more. It’s easiest to do so when they are signed up to your email – to keep them hooked, make sure that you over deliver. Always go one step further with your content, find some excellent information on the topic and excel your competition. People who receive more are more satisfied and eager to buy your product or click your affiliate links following your recommendation.
10. Have a separate schedule for your content
Make sure that you have a good content plan. While the significance of having a good, step by step plan has already been mention in #1, having a separate content schedule is similarly important. Review your plan frequently to keep your content fresh and up to date with the news in the niche in which you are operating thrown in between more thorough articles. Let your readers leave you feedback in the comments and learn from it. Of course not everything will be positive but don’t run from it – it’s a great way to learn the needs of your audience.
11. Optimize your website’s speed
Keeping your website fast is important both for your audience and for SEO. Use a good web host that is suitable for the amount of traffic your site generates. Make sure that you optimize the code of your website – you can use GtMetrix to test the site and learn what it is that you can optimize (both on the website and server side). If you have visitors from international locations on various continents, and you have a lot of static content, you may consider using Content Delivery Network (CDN). Use asynchronous loading for Java or other scripts so that they don’t delay the loading of the whole site. Similarly, you should gzip and minify your images. Some of the above can be done in a few clicks using special plugins such as WP Rocket if you are using WordPress. Some other changes will require changing settings of your server – contact your host if you need any help optimizing it.
12. Take care of your site’s security
Make sure that you protect your website from hackers and server failures. Even though most hosts offer automatic backups, it’s good to keep a backup of your site on a separate server. You can use Amazon S3 for that, and there are WordPress plugins (such as BackupBuddy; again, a great tool if you are using WordPress) that can automatically send your files there. Don’t be naive and don’t think that no one is going to hack your site – there will be attempts to do so, sooner or later, and if you don’t secure it, it will get compromised. Take care of the basics, hide your WordPress panel admin and limit login attempts. One of the best security options for WordPress is iThemes Security plugin – the free version will significantly strengthen the security of your site and it won’t cost you anything.